One day I was at a local juice bar called The Gem and a woman offered my friend and I a sample of homemade almond milk. I was completely flabbergasted by how delicious it was. I asked the woman what was in it and she said almonds, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt.
I have made almond milk now several times at home and learned some valuable tricks along the way. I prefer the taste of almond milk made with the skin of the almonds removed. This is a hare bit of a pain but the final result is so special and delicious I suffer through this one tedious step to get to the final product.
The almonds have to be soaked in clean water for at least five hours for the skins to soften enough to slide off. Then you’ll drain the soak water and pour hot water over the almonds. This does something magical to the skins and the nuts will simply slide out when you gently squeeze them between your fingers and thumb. Now crank up some tunes, stand at the counter, and work for your reward.
Nuts go in a blender with water and are processed until nuts are broken down. Add flavorings (unless you are using a vanilla bean and then you will add that later) and blend again to combine. I did order a nut milk bag online (here, and only $8) but you can also use a flour sack or white kitchen towel. Cheesecloth does not do a good enough job of straining the fine particles through.
Some people skip the step of peeling the nuts and straining the milk. I like it pure in color and texture so go through the few extra steps. It’s worth it. I use it in raw dessert recipes, smoothies, and coffee creamer but mostly enjoy a cold glass of sweet, thick, creamy milk straight from the fridge.
Homemade Almond Milk
2 cups organic whole raw almonds
6-8 cups purified water
3 tablespoons Grade B Maple Syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or the seeds of a madagasgar vanilla bean)
a hefty pinch of fleur de sel or other sea salt
Place 2 cups of almonds in a large bowl and cover with clean water. Allow them to soften in the water for at least 5 hours. If you’re soaking them overnight, cover with plastic and place in the refrigerator. Drain the soaking water. Pour hot tap water over the almonds and let them sit in the water while you peel the skins off one by one and drop them in the blender. Throw away the almond skins.
Add 6 cups of water if you want almond milk that has the texture and richness of heavy cream or 7-8 cups if you would like it to be more like whole milk. Blend water and almonds until they are almost smooth, this could take up to a minute or more depending on your blender. Add maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Mix again to combine.
Use your nut milk bag or place a flour sack/towel over a small mesh sieve and pour in some of the blended almonds. Think of how you might milk a cow and use a similar technique here, holding the top of the towel with one hand and gently squeezing out the liquid with the other. Inside the towel will be an almond meal/flour. Some raw foodies use this for cooking but you can throw it away. Continue until all liquid has been strained. If you are using a vanilla bean add it now.
Place milk in glass jars or other large pourable sealed container. It is best served cold and will last in the refrigerator for up to five days. Shake before using.